Review: The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni

The Ancestor by Danielle Trussoni
William Morrow (April 2020)

368 pages; $19.61 hardcover; $14.99 e-book
Reviewed by Sadie Hartmann

I have never wanted to live in the pages of a horror novel as much as I did while reading The Ancestor. Alberta Montebianco lives a stressful, emotionally complicated lifestyle in New York. With almost magical timing, a letter shows up addressed to her but with a new title in front of her name— “Countess.” As it turns out, Alberta discovers that she is possibly the sole, living heir to a noble title, and a castle in Turin, Italy.

The perfect set-up for a compelling story! I felt like I was reading the source material for an old black-and-white movie starring a classic Hollywood, silver screen beauty. All of the chapters with Trussoni’s bewildered protagonist as she explores her new digs in Italy are life-giving, fairytale-esque magic! I loved all the detailed, descriptive language of the castle and decor. 

Bear rugs. Fireplaces in all the rooms. Chandeliers. A whole library in a turret with rounded walls and bookshelves everywhere. Secret rooms, strange servants and even a mysterious person dwelling in a private room. There was an excitement building in me as I realized that at some point in the story, there would be so many remarkable revelations.  It’s a dream-like reading experience I would wish on anyone who might want to imagine what it would feel like to live vicariously through a modern-day woman turned countess.

This is where readers of this review might begin to question the validity of the publisher’s marketing strategy in genre labeling this book as horror. It all sounds a little bit fanciful and even romantic.

But, oh-ho, horror fans! Remember, my job is to share my reading experience with you while preserving your own reading discoveries. I don’t want to allude to anything that would potentially spoil some of the amazing plot details that await you on this journey. Just know this: it would be almost impossible to imagine, at the start of this book, where it ultimately ends up. Horror fans, you’re in for a treat.

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